Last night I watched the Australian music industry awards - the Arias - and I must remember to get new batteries for the DVD remote. As I've said before, I don't really know modern music, so basically the artists last night were divided into those I don't know very well, and those I don't know at all. It was about as familiar as watching the Eurovision song contest, except without the amusement of seeing a blonde lurex-clad Swedish lass belting out "Loff me, don't liff me!" or two ageing Dutch hippies singing "Zip Zip Zip...Zap!"
What there was instead was a mostly uncontroversial variety-style love-in. I may not know much about rock n roll, but isn't it supposed to be about... rebellion? And yet, even though we live in "these troubled times", no one referred to them in their speeches.
Until Midnight Oil rocked up (and that term is used advisedly) as they were deservingly inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. Followng tributes from Bono and silverchair, the band members spoke out against the Iraq war...and the fact that there is little protest music being released these days.
This was pretty suprising to me. I mean, for all I know, most of the songs on the current Triple J playlist could be about capsicums, but you'd think there would be something, some slice of the music biz warbling about blood for oil and the subversion of democracy. But as the Oils said "God bless you, John Butler, but you shouldn't have to do it all on your own." They then went on to blame the Australian Idol phenomenon for this, but I think that's unfair (it was amusing though, considering this year's crop were sitting in the audience). The Idols are, mercifully, only a small part of record sales in Australia. Are people so apathetic these days? If I were a musician, I know what I'd be singing about, and it wouldn't be I Love You Baby.
Funny moment of the night went unintentionally to Bernard Fanning, who is rapidly growing in status as a wanker of the first order. As he stepped up to receive his award, his first comment was, "Does this thing [the ceremony] have to go on for so long?"
He waited for the cheers. Dead silence.
Looking around awkwardly, he added, "I mean, seriously".
And he made a quick decision to get on with thanking people.
Still, none of the Idols actually won an ARIA this year, and best of all, neither did Ben Lee. So I guess the Australian music industry isn't in that bad a shape.